Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ava Luxe Frangipani: A Review

I’m not an expert on the scent of frangipani flowers. I know they’re tropical blossoms also known as plumeria whose scent has been a popular Bath & Body Works type fragrance for soaps, lotions and the like for awhile now. I have Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani, which is beautiful, yet a tad too fleeting for me. I also had Chantecaille’s Frangipane which I liked quite a lot but gifted it to someone else because I didn’t wear it often enough.

I did a quick scan of the blogs, basenotes, POL and MUA to see what the general consensus is on Ava Luxe Frangipani. For the most part, folks seem to think Ava Luxe does a decent rendition of Frangipani but that other higher end niche brands do it better. I’m exactly the opposite. I think for virtually half the price, Ava Luxe makes a frangipani scent that’s beautiful and lasts.

Frangipani is a tropical flower smelling a bit like a fruity indolic jasmine, magnolia or gardenia. It’s native to Mexico, Central and South America, India and Southeast Asia but has thrived in Hawaii to the point that most people think its native to these islands. Frangipani, in nature, has a very sweet, heavily indolic and fruity-floral presence. In most of the Bath & Body Works sort of scents there’s a similarity to Juicy Fruit gum.

Ava Luxe Frangipani smells more heavily indolic than the other Frangipani scents I’ve worn. To me, “indolic” means an overripe note, to the point of being close to decay. Indoles, at one extreme, are found in feces and can smell like feces, but when used minimally in perfumery usually conjure up images of very ripe florals and fruits. I find jasmine, gardenia, magnolia and sometimes orange blossom all have the potential of being particularly indolic scents. Ava Luxe Frangipani is a lovely green tropical frangipani scent. Frangipani absolute is blended with gardenia, tuberose and jasmine to make a particularly lush and intoxicating floral statement. Ava Luxe Frangipani is quite sweet, and very beachy-island-sexy. In style, it reminds me of Monyette Paris, which is another addictively sweet and tropical floral scent. Once Ava Luxe Frangipani dries down, it leans more toward a jasmine-gardenia scent with a base of vanilla, white amber, and cedar, which serve to slightly “cut the sweet” and ground the scent.

I have no explanation but I typically don’t like indolic white florals, however, when they’re done in a lush, over the top style, like Ava Luxe Frangipani, Serge Lutens A La Nuit, Monyette Paris and Serge Lutens Datura Noir...I love them.

Ava Luxe Frangipani is a delicious, sexy, tropical gem. I’ll take this with me on vacation this year and also wear it whenever I need a little island getaway in my mind.


Divina said...

Hi Abigail & Brian! Gave your blog a 'fabulous blog' award, hoping to see you both share your fabulous addictions ;)

Anonymous said...

Plumeria are just heaven on earth as far as I'm concerned. I'm interested to give Ava Luxe's a try. I've never found them to be too heavy on the indoles like jasmine, but I have not smelled all of the varieties, and there are many! Some smell citrusy, others like cinnamon...they are amazing!

I think there's some confusion when you "google" champaca or plumeria, but champaca are different flowers entirely I'm pretty sure.


Abigail said...


Aww, thank you - we will share our addictions soon!

Thanks, I was wondering about frangipani vs. champaca. On several sites I found them listed as the same flower or at least from the same plant classification. But I've never found champaca as sweet as frangipani, so I had lingering doubts after posting that.

Anonymous said...


I had some confusion when I was doing research too. Here is a great pic of a champaca flower if you want to check it out for one of my posts.


krnszn said...

I'll have to try this! I didn't care for Chantecaille's or Ormonde Jayne's versions at all. I fell in love with the plumeria flower (aka frangipane) when I was in Maui - even bought a large floating plumeria pendant at Na Hoku while I was there. When I returned from the trip, I ordered samples of a number of tropical fragrances, and eventually purchased a bottle of Saffron James' Le'a, which is based on the plumeria flower. Beautiful scent, created by Sarah Horowicz Thran for Kate Growney, the owner of Saffron James. I don't really associate Le'a at all with the Chantecaille and OJ scents, which I thought were way too sweet. I'm curious about the "indolic" note in Ava Luxe's version, though. :-)

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